Adventures in Liverpool
Most of our school visits happen close to home, but recently, together with the Columbans, a few of us had the opportunity to spend three days in Liverpool, at the invitation of Bellerive School. We arrived by train late morning on Sunday for a full day of sightseeing around the city (and learning to understand a Liverpudlian accent!) before heading to meet our hosts, the FCJ sisters where a very warm welcome awaited.
On Monday we had a full day in school with back-to-back encounters with groups of students, topped off with a staff meeting after school, and after dinner there was a further invitation to share our stories with the sisters and those who joined them for their evening service. We were certainly ready to relax and put our feet up by the end of the day.
We started Tuesday with a later breakfast and then a trip to the Liverpool Slavery and Maritime museums before heading back to the school for further encounters with students. A rough estimate puts the number of pupils we met over the two days at somewhere in the region of 600.
There was lots and lots of laughter, and a few tears along the way. We returned to Birmingham on Tuesday evening exhausted, but satisfied that we are making an impact: changing perceptions and perspectives; one story, one encounter at a time.
A couple of the participants shared their reflections about the experience:
In my opinion, I think is something we should be doing often. Why? Because it helps people to understand the big picture of what is going on with the asylum seekers and refugees in this country.
We are the ones in this situation and you giving us the platform to go and speak to people about our situation is a great opportunity and that is the only way things will change.
Personally I enjoyed sharing my stories to people that cares, knowing that they will do something to change things, is better than sitting in the hotel feeling sorry for myself. I will thank you for giving us this chance to be able to reach out to people.
My favourite part is when I sing to the kids how happy and excited they feel, that makes me happy as well and I see it in their eyes how emotional our stories makes them feel.
So yes, I believe going out there sharing our stories we make people think differently about refugees and asylum seekers.
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It was a great opportunity to have space to talk and tell my sad story and long terrible journey.
The two days were full of emotions, happy, sad, crying and laughing .
Things like this are important because it lets people who have freedom to speak to know the truth and use their voice to help world be a better place.
I would like to thank the organisers, the people who welcomed us and all who participated for making this happen.